So for International Women’s Day I decided to put together a list of some of my favorite female writers. I looked at how they influenced culture and such for a lot my choices but the list is primarily based on how they influenced me. A couple in the mix aren’t really “influential” on a wide scale but they inspire me in some way. Here is the list:
Ann Radcliffe (1764-1823)
Notable Works: The Mysteries of Udolpho, The Romance of the Forest
Ann Radcliffe doesn’t seem to be read by many readers of today. However, her work was very influential and popular in her own time. She’s basically one of most important writers when it comes to the development of the Gothic Novel. Radcliffe’s work might be hard for modern readers to enjoy but she inspires me due to her great influence on some of the best writers of all time. I’m also a big fan of the Gothic novel myself.
Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
Notable Works: Various Poems
In my eyes, Emily Dickinson is the greatest poet in history. I don’t write a lot of poetry myself but Dickinson still inspires me whether I’m writing a short story, poem or novel. Her poetry has so much freedom but at the same time it’s controlled. That’s something I greatly admire.
Joyce Carol Oates (1938- )
Notable Works: Zombie, Black Water
Zombie is the first book I read by Oates and it’s one of my favorites novels of all time. Joyce has written a wide variety of things but Zombie is my personal favorite. Oates is a great writer that’s clearly not afraid to take risks.
Kate Chopin (1850-1904)
Notable Works: The Awakening, Various Short Stories.
I did a little tribute to Kate Chopin recently: https://mixedupsaydee.wordpress.com/2016/02/28/kate-chopin-tribute/
Elizabeth George Speare (1908-1994)
Notable Works: The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Sign of the Beaver
Some may see books like Sign of the Beaver and Witch of Blackbird Pond as the type of books kids are forced to read in school. Well, I don’t believe that. The two books are brilliant by any standard. Children should be reading books with deeper themes and such. I sure didn’t have trouble reading Sign of the Beaver or Blackbird Pond as a kid. They remain my favorites even today.
VC Andrews (1923-1986)
Notable Works: Flowers in the Attic, My Sweet Audrina, Heaven
In some people eyes, VC Andrews’ novels are the epitome of trash fiction. Some may even argue she gives female writers a bad name. However, I feel that Andrews deserves respect as a writer because she knows how to tell an engaging story like no other. In my opinion, her writing is not simply “trash.” She’s one of my favorite writers and I’m not afraid to admit it.
Lauren Oliver (1982- )
Notable Works: Before I Fall, Delirium
Lauren Oliver isn’t just another YA author, as some might view her to be. She is an amazing writer with beautifual prose that knows how to create emotionally complex and amazing characters.
Mary Shelley (1797-1851)
Notable Works: Frankenstein
Even today women are underrepresented in horror fiction. Since I write horror, it makes me happy to know that a woman wrote one of the most influential novels in horror. This is why I feel obligated to include Shelley within my list.
Shirley Jackson (1916-1965)
Notable Works: The Haunting of Hill House, We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Shirley Jackson has also had immense influence on horror, so that’s why I include her as well. As a female writer of horror fiction myself, I feel I owe her a great deal of respect.
J.K Rowling (1965 – )
Notable Works: Harry Potter
Harry Potter is an obvious choice on a book list. But Rowling deserves all the respect she gets. It’s amazing that she wrote a series that captivated and influenced so many people.